The three-day mela that includes an exhibition, video shows, interactive sessions with sugarcane technologists and scientists, demonstrations and field visits, was inaugurated by C. Swaminathan, Vice-Chancellor, Bharathiar University.
Speaking on the occasion, he urged the sugarcane scientists to improve sugarcane productivity per unit area as the land area for sugarcane expansion was limited.
“Sugar shortage should be taken seriously as the demand for sugar is growing with the growing population. Researchers and scientists should make efforts to stabilise production,” the Vice-Chancellor said.
N. Vijayan Nair, Director, SBI, said the institute was developing new varieties and technologies to improve productivity and reduce cost of cultivation.
“Six new varieties released by the institute through the Central Varietals Release Committee with high yield and quality potential are on display at the expo. The new varieties are also resistant to red rot, drought and salinity,” the Director said.
Growers were not only shown the new varieties at the expo, but also given demonstration on planting them at the fields in the institute. Co 2001-13 and Co 2001-15 for South India, and Co 0118, Co 0232, Co 0233 and Co 238 for North India were the new varieties recommended.
“Besides the new varieties, another attraction is the mini tractor to promote mechanised cultivation of sugarcane. The tractor enables cultivation of sugarcane in wider row spacing, weeding, ridging and furrowing operations, D. Puthira Prathap, Senior Scientist, SBI, said.
The 32-stalls at the expo did not only have information on sugarcane, but also had Government Departments displaying the latest on plantation crops, tubers, etc. Research institutions, fertilizer and pesticide manufacturers, sugar factories, farm equipment manufacturers and other service providers had displayed their wares.
A prototype of the website ‘CaneInfo’ was on display for the visitors for their feedback. Once it was updated with good suggestions from the sugarcane growers, the site would be hosted on the Internet. Multi-lingual interactive sessions and a visit to a micro-irrigation plot were also organised.